A humorous, upbeat look at a contemporary church community where all are welcome.

A CHURCH FOR ALL

This cheerful introduction to attending a Sunday-morning church service provides an overview of the experience in an inclusive, liberal Christian church.

The story opens with two dads (one white, one black) serving breakfast to their daughters, who are black. The family walks to church, meeting other adults and children of many ages, ethnicities, and body types as the congregation gathers. The huge cast of characters entering the church includes gay and lesbian couples, several people with canes, a child using a wheelchair, interracial families, and people with all sorts of looks, including shaved heads, mohawks, and tattoos. The church choir and the black pastor wear traditional robes, but the décor of the church is upbeat and contemporary, with banners proclaiming the welcoming and inclusive philosophy of this congregation. A simple, rhyming text describes some of the aspects of the worship service and different kinds of church members, with a repeated refrain emphasizing this church is for everyone. A cross is displayed at the front of the church, and one banner reads “God’s Doors Are Open to All,” but God and Jesus are not mentioned in the text. Cheerful, busy illustrations expand the minimal text with the intriguing cast of definitely diverse churchgoers, charmingly including children who can’t sit still. An author’s note explains the story was inspired by the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.

A humorous, upbeat look at a contemporary church community where all are welcome. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1179-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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